Guide to House Records: Chapter 23 Pearl Harbor Attack
Chapter 23. Records of the Joint Committees of Congress 1789-1968 (Record Group 128)
Records of the Joint Committees of Congress 1789-1989 (Record Group 128) from
Guide to Federal Records in the National
Archives of the United States, 1789-1988
- Introduction to the Records of the Joint Committees of Congress
- Part One: Overview of the Records of Certain Joint Committees
- Part Two: Records of Individual Joint Committees
Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack (1945-46)
JC.088 At dawn on December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers staged a surprise attack on U. S. military and naval forces in Hawaii. In a disastrous and humiliating defeat, the United States suffered 3,435 casualties and loss of or severe damage to 188 planes, 8 battleships, 3 light cruisers, and 4 miscellaneous vessels. Japanese losses were less than 100 personnel, 29 planes, and 5 midget submarines.
JC.089 After the defeat of Japan almost 4 years later, Congress established the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack to "make a full and complete investigation of the facts relating to the events and circumstances leading up to or following the attack." (S. Con. Res. 27, 79th Cong.) In its investigation, the committee sought to determine whether shortcomings or failures on the U.S. side might have contributed to the disaster and, if so, to suggest changes that might protect the country from another such tragedy in the future. The committee's public hearings commenced on November 15, 1945, and continued to May 31, 1946. Testimony was received from 43 witnesses and ran to 15,000 typewritten pages.
JC.090 The records of the committee include records relating to the seven previous governmental investigations of the Pearl Harbor attack. These were the Roberts Commission undertaken by Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts in 1941 at President Roosevelt's request; the investigation conducted by Admiral Thomas C. Hart in 1944 at the behest of the Secretary of the Navy; the 1944 Army Pearl Harbor Board; the 1944 Navy Court of Inquiry; the 1944-45 investigation by Col. Carter W. Clarke for Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall; Maj. Henry C. Clausen's 1944-45 investigation for the Secretary of War; and Admiral H. Kent Hewitt's 1945 study for the Navy Secretary. In all, these investigations produced 9,754 pages of testimony from 318 witnesses. The joint committee published the proceedings of all seven as exhibits.
|Photograph of the burning USS West Virginia in Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 (SEN14A-B6) from NARA's Online Catalog.|
This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1989.
Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42) by Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989), and Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245) by Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989).